I was terrified in my childhood by the song/story of John Henry, who strains so mightily to punch his way through a mountain that, at the tune's end, his heart bursts and he tumbles down and dies. Well, Henry's a lackadaisical piker compared to the chipper folks from Shining Time Station. They bustle about following orders, strive above all to be "really useful," and only stop to sleep because, as the six-inch-tall Conductor (Alec Baldwin, in a role finally commensurate with his short talent) reminds his engines, you need to rest before the long, hard day of work tomorrow. Of all the villainous acts committed by the evil diesel locomotive, none is as blasphemous as when he mocks a verse from "I've Been Working on the Railroad": "Who," he asks (quite rightly in my opinion) "wants to work a lifelong day?" All right, no one gets sent off to hard labor, and it's not like there are signs hanging around reading "Arbeit macht frei," but can't anybody, even a little blue steam engine, dream of doing more than just hauling coal around all day? As I recall my boyhood fascination with dump trucks, the romance went out the window when I realized they couldn't knock down any building they desired; I doubt kids today see them as anything more than a viable entry into the labor pool.